Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Little Work In Progress


No excuses or explanations about not having posted in ages.  I'll spare you.  Just a few pics of what I'm up to at the moment in the Fayetteville house. 

I'm supposed to be cleaning the house for Sara-Grace's birthday sleepover this coming weekend.  So, of course, I find myself overhauling rooms instead!  I am bad.

In contemplating why I do these things, I have come to two conclusions:

1.  There is something wrong with my brain.  I can never do what I'm supposed to be doing but I get lots of other things done instead (I call this "rebellious productivity").  For this reason, I usually just follow my muse and work wherever I find myself.  This is great until there's a deadline.

2. I don't know how to do regular maintenance cleaning.  I can do huge overhauls and I can microclean (think toothbrush and toothpicks in the crevices) but I can't seem to do that daily June Cleaver stuff right.  Then I realized:  my mother had a bad back and a maid.  {Lula was very dear to me.  She worked for our family from the time I was in kindergarten until I was close to 40.  She made the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever!}  My grandmother had a maid.  My step-mother had a mail (actually, TWO!).  My birthmother had a maid.  Somehow I never learned how to be my own maid.  Don't get me wrong, I can sweep and mop and scrub toilets.  I have cleaned houses for a living at times.  I just don't know how to merge that into MY house and my regular life.  "The cobbler's children have no shoes" and all that!

One of my favorite memories from my grade school years was coming home from school to find a room rearranged.  It was like entering a bright, exciting, shiny new world.  It also meant my mother, who was often not well, felt good for a change.  It was magical to me!  So I learned to rearrange because the excitement of it was just so captivating!

A friend and I were once debating her tendency to have one to two items on each shelf vs. my tendency to pack all kinds of cool stuff into shelves.  She asked me, "When do you dust?"  I grasped around for an answer and realized that I didn't have one!  I finally figured it out though:  I dust when I rearrange!  Then you can really do a thorough job!  She thinks I'm crazy.  She's probably right!

Recently, I found myself in my "library" -- the enlarged landing space at the top of the stairs.  I think I just went in there to put something away.  But this (the photo above) is what happened (so sorry for my sucky photos):

The horrific "before".

This space started out as the library (because of all the shelves, of course).  When Sara-Grace was born, until we built her a room, it was the nursery.  It's also been the exercise room (the exercise bike and the stair climber are still in there, unfortunately, for lack of other alternatives). 

Most recently, it's been "the beast den".  The dogs had taken over the love seat that was up against the window which was both a great place for a comfy nap and a good vantage point for barking one's head off at anyone who walked on our street - or even just a passing stray leaf.  This didn't end up being a pretty thing for the love seat which is no longer fit for man nor beast. 

Recently, I've been thinking of making the library into my writing room.  I've had fantasies of gazing out the window and typing away on my computer.  Seems like a great place and a great way to start my days!

This is the view.  Not bad, huh?

I was planning to build a tall, wide, shallow desk out of old chippy white boards.  I still might.  I want that kind of old-fashioned farmhouse rusticity to it.  So I was waiting for a fateful convergence of boards and time. But then it dawned on me that the two nightstands I had loitering around were the right height and could hold a desk top.  Nuf said!  I'm still waiting to find the right desktop but, for now, a couple of boards will suffice. 
One of said boards even sports that oval STP motor oil sticker that EVERY boy had somewhere in his room when I was a kid.  If you know a boy who didn't, you're either not of my era or you grew up on the moon!  I LOVE this nostalgia!

The rattan barstool takes me back to my grandmother's kitchen.  Grandmother had one of these at either end of her kitchen island.  My sister, Katie, and I used to make her crazy spinning on them.  We had GREAT fun!  This is not one of her's, I found it at a thrift store, but I forget that when I look at it!

The designer in me lost the battle in this space.  The sentimental clutterbug won!  Most of the content of the room is sentimental childhood junk:  my dolls and stuffed animals, my heart collection (I was born on Valentine's Day), my diplomas and awards, kid's ceramics from several decades, Emily's dollhouse, even a couple of my mother's toys.

A ceramic heart pin and a quilted heart -- tied into frames with ribbon.

That nakey doll's clothes are around somewhere!  Waiting for them to turn up!

The three ceramic animals that were in the room a slept in in my grandmother's house when I was a kid -- now guarding the Shakespeare collection.

This area measures 19' x 10'.  It felt like half that until yesterday.  Now it feels twice a big.  But it's still documentation of my clutterbug tendencies!  Oh well!  I go back and forth on painting the bookshelves white.  I'd prefer them to be white but it's SO hard to do a good paint job on bookcases.  Not like I have time anyway!

When Katie and I were little, my grandparents traveled extensively.  They brought us dolls from all over the world.  These barrister bookcases corral the doll collection that also includes my mother's childhood collection of storybook dolls and some of my daughters' dolls as well -- three generations of dolls!  I was thinking of painting the cabinet white and putting some nicely-folded and ribbon-tied Martha Stewartesque linens in it.  But maybe not.  Maybe it's fine just the way it is!

I LOVE the vintage bird cage, bird print, and ceramic bird on top of the cabinet!
Close-up of the doll collection.

I love collecting old painted stools!

Even Wishy the cat likes it!


  1. I think it's imperative to have your sentimental stuff around the place you write. It just helps, I think. I love it. Love the dolls, the stools, the spinning...and the maids. I really love the maids. We need one!